UK joins the Global Astronomical Community in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landings

UK joins the Global Astronomical Community in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landings Banner Image

Astronaut Edwin E.’Buzz’ Aldrin facing the Lunar Module Eagle. Photo credit: NASA

UCLan astronomy academics involved in celebrating the historic event

The International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) global project ‘Moon Landing 50’ celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon in 1969.

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Professor Robert Walsh and Dr Megan Argo are involved in the project, which comprises the largest coordinated Moon landing anniversary action worldwide with more than 120 countries celebrating this historic event. 

The 1969 Moon landing was an integral and influential milestone for astronomy and space travel research. The importance of this event extends beyond the space industry to the whole of humankind. The achievement has inspired a generation of young people to study science and has allowed for the conception and development of more human spaceflight missions. It has also made a lasting impression on society and popular culture. 

To celebrate the significance of this 50-year milestone, Moon Landing 50 has coordinated a variety of efforts to stimulate engagement and celebrations worldwide. The many events taking place on and around the Apollo 11 anniversary on 20–21 July include a Moon Habitat Design Contest in India, a performance by the Radio Science Orchestra in the United Kingdom, an astronaut golf tournament in the United States, workshops with tactile astronomy models in Argentina, a public lecture on the future of space exploration in Zambia, the Space Pioneer museum exhibition in China, a special TV broadcast on Irish public television, and much more.

The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) is working in partnership with the UK Space Agency to bring together and share the huge range of Moon events, festivals and activities taking place across the United Kingdom. In addition to the global Moon Landing 50 Events List, a dedicated UK website has been created for events taking place specifically in the United Kingdom: www.Moon50.uk .

Professor Robert Walsh, from UCLan’s Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, said: “It is excellent that the UK is fully taking part in this unprecedented global celebration of science exploration. The significance of the Apollo Moon Landing cannot be underestimated - the first steps by astronauts on another body outside of Earth is an unforgettable milestone in human history.”

It is excellent that the UK is fully taking part in this unprecedented global celebration of science exploration.

Moon Landing 50 has also endorsed a variety of special initiatives that are celebrating the anniversary. This includes the UK-based collaborative project, between UCLan astronomer Dr Megan Argo and storyteller Cassandra Wye, called We Share the Same Moon that was developed to create an inclusive approach to science education through storytelling.

Abi Ashton, Space and Physics Project Manager of ASDC, added: “There are loads of amazing events happening across the UK to celebrate 50 years since the first Moon landing and ASDC is delighted to have this developed moon50.uk to showcase these. From Moon festivals in Goonhilly and London to planetarium shows in Glasgow and Belfast through to Luke Jerram’s vast touring Moon artwork, we hope that there is something for everyone. ASDC encourages everyone running Moon events in the UK to share their event with us!”

Throughout the celebrations, event organisers and participants are encouraged to share updates and images on social media using both of the event hashtags #IAU100 and #MoonLanding50. An image submission form and social media wall have also been set up on a dedicated page of the Moon Landing 50 website. A variety of prizes will be awarded to selected event organisers and participants following the celebrations. To encourage the involvement of children in the celebrations, Moon Landing 50 has also established the Under One Moon art contest for children aged 5–12 from all countries.

The activities under ‘Moon Landing 50’ are organised within the framework of the IAU’s 100th anniversary in 2019. With more than 3,500 activities in 130 countries, millions of people around the world are celebrating the astronomical breakthroughs that have shaped science, technology and culture throughout the last century as well as highlighting the importance of astronomy as a tool for education, development and diplomacy. Find more information on the IAU100 website.

Rachel Atkinson | 17 July 2019